The lives of three people take a turn when one of them commits a crime: Joaquin is failing miserably at providing for his family. When his loan-shark Magda gets murdered, the crime is pinned on him. Misery and solitude transform him in prison. Left to fend for the family after a serious leg injury, his wife Eliza pours all of her strength to battling with despair and eking out a living for their two children. The real perpetrator, Fabian, a hothead student who holds forth on the subject of atheism and anarchism to his long-suffering friends roams free. His disillusionment with his country-its history of revolutions marred by betrayal and crimes unpunished-drives him to the edge of sanity.
User Reviews: There was a lot of hype for Norte: The End of History before it was released, it went from film festival to film festival winning tons of awards and be praised as one of the greatest films of the past few years. And when it was finally released to more "general audiences," they were split on it. And in Norte’s defense, there are few films that could live up to that much hype. Norte: The End of History follows two different protagonists one of them being Fabian (played by Sid Lucerio) a brilliant Pilipino law student who is disgusted by the world, and believes himself to be sort of an übermensch. And the other being Joaquin (played by Archie Alemania) a poor lower class worker, who is just trying to provide for his family. The only thing that links these two characters together is that they both use the same money-lender. One day Fabian decides that he is done with his petty life of having pretentious arguments with his snobbish friends and decides to cut of all relationships with them, and he also decides to kill his money-lender, as both an act to show his dominance and to clear his debt. The money-lender’s death is then pinned on Joaquin, who is sentenced to prison with no hope of ever leaving.
Lav Diaz, the director of Norte, was very clearly inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment when he made Norte. Except Lav Diaz takes a much darker and more nihilistic approach to the story. Lav Diaz’s films are infamous for their massive length and slow pace. Norte tells a story, that would be told in 2 hours if handled by a more "normal" director, in over 4 hours. So if you’re someone who has trouble sitting through long films, Norte might not be for you. And I won’t lie even as someone who is familiar with longer films and slower films, there were still parts in Norte that felt like they were going on for too long, and I think it would be better if Lav Diaz did cut back on the films length or quicken its pace. There are some scenes that I think are paced perfectly, like the murder scene and the climax, but there’s a lot of stuff in the middle that just feels very unimportant and is really just bloating the run-time.
Even though there is very little in terms of graphic content shown on screen in Norte, it still manages to be one of the most shocking and dark films to come out of the past few years, all on the merit of the film’s characters and their twisted view on morality. As you’re watching the film you can’t help but wonder, what was going Diaz’s mind when he made it. All of the actors do excellent jobs in there roles especially Sid Lucerio, who unfortunately hasn’t been in anything else of note, yet. The cinematography is also really good. Larry Manda, the cinematographer does a great job of portraying the slums of the Philippines as a desolate hellish landscape of sin and torment. And the last 45 minutes of Norte are executed perfectly. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind long run-times and slow pacing, then I would highly recommend Norte: The End of History to you.